Saturday, June 30, 2012

Henry is in Town!

Here's Henry!  And what a cute, happy, laidback little sweetheart he is!  Almost 11 months old, he is just about ready to take off walking but he can certainly get to where he wants to go with no problem at all.  It is such fun to just sit and watch a little one go through their little bag of tricks for you.  I was very happy to get lots of smiles from him.   Sherry, Molly and I talked to Hannah in Mozambique for about half an hour yesterday morning and she sounds wonderful.   It was a great connection and sounded  as if she could have been right next door.  Five more months and she will be back home for good.  So good to see everyone again!  Tomorrow they all go up to the cabin for the holiday weekend.

Working on my big swoon block.  This has been up on the basement wall for a couple of days.  It is going quickly - the blocks will work out 7" square.  I made two changes when sewing the rows together - first of all I goofed in the way that I have the hot pink half square triangles in the outermost row.  They spread out instead of coming to a point in the middle.  Glad I caught that instead of sewing it all together first and then catching it.   Then I changed the purple color hst around the star.
I think this makes it look like there is a diamond behind the square.  It's very bright - but should be very pretty when it is quilted.  I think I am going to make a smaller border with the little diamonds (see top picture) in variegated colors and will buttonhole stitch them instead of piecing.  Then I'll add a wide black border.  I so love hot pink and orange together!   As always, the black background makes the colors sing.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hannah and Her Friends

 This past weekend there was a bachelorette party for one of Hannah' best friend s who is getting married.  Of course, Hannah is not able to attend the festivities that go along with the wedding - well, at least not in person!  Above is a picture Sherry sent me of Hannah's life sized cutout on the way to the party.   I don't know where it was and have no idea why the dinosaur is in the picture.
Here is a photo that shows Hannah did, indeed, make it to the party and here she poses with one of her cute friends, Blair, who is has such a big smile because she is so glad to see her friend again!  Cute idea, right?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Playing with the Swoon Block

Thinking about the swoon block, I played around with my EQ5 and was able to come up with this version of the block.  I am not very good with this program but it is  fun to play with and I can actually do some very simple things with it.  There are ways to import all kinds of fabric into the libraries and I just quickly put in the Bali batiks they have listed so, therefore, this looks very Amish and I love it.  I didn't spend much time picking out the fabrics and they don't print out as pretty as they look on the screen.

If each of the individual blocks were 7 inches, for instance, the entire block would be 56" square - which is the width of a double bed, I think.  Adding a narrow border and a wide border equalling 10 inches would bring it to 76 overall which would certainly be good to cover a bed with the addition of a dust ruffle.  And if you made the individual blocks 4 inches, you would have a 32" wallhanging sans border.  There are so many  possibilities.  And look at the lovely spaces for beautiful machine quilting!  I'm thinking about this one for one of these days.  I do love the Amish look!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Birds are Quilted

All quilted and ready for the binding.  I also have 35 little eyes to sew on  Thought I had some small black ones that I had purchased at Joann's sometime ago and, lo and behold, I was able to find them in a small drawer of little buttons of all sorts.  I did that yesterday then had the good sense to put them into a tiny ziploc bag until I was ready to use them.   Today, I could not find them - and searched high and low around my sewing machine and vicinity but no bag of buttons.  Some of my favorite bad words were muttered and finally stopped looking for them.  Just before I started to finish the quillting on this little piece, I looked on the floor along side of my sewing desk and there on a pile of stuff was a little ziploc bag of tiny black buttons.  Hooray!  Now I think I have put them where I know I can find them.  Now I will head down the basement and press the binding and trim the extra backing and batting from the little birdie piece.  Almost done!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Front Stoop Pot

The pot the deer almost destroyed - I did add the two little pink begonias - but the other plants are really growing.  I didn't get a good shot of the fancy leaved begonia that was chewed to the soil and now it is really growing.  You can barely see it right above the left pink flower near the spike.  Also there is a glimpse of the cute little tin girl I bought at Joann's for 70% off standing guard by the pot.   Maybe she will shoo those deer away!
Here's a better picture of her - she seemed to want to come home with me.
They still had some cute things at Joann's and 70% off is a great deal.  I bought two of these little fish on springs and hooked them onto the wrought iron plant holders.  Figured maybe if the deer went nosing around the fish might startle them.  Of course they will!!
One more picture - this is the plant on my new patio  table and I think it is so pretty to see when I look out the sliding door.  I love love love that blue stuff!  There are some tiny petunias and dwarf zinnias in with the blue.  Everything is really growing by leaps and bounds now. 

Today I went over to the Campus Ridge which is on the hospital grounds and got everything all taken care of to start pulmonary rehab which will be all through July,  August and September.  I passed the six minute walk with flying colors!  The inhalers I have been using are what is really making a difference.  I bought an oxygen monitor quite a while back and it has been showing I am over 90 every time I use it so I have been using oxygen only when I sleep.  Today I had that monitor checked and it is spot on so I feel so good about that.  Will see the doctor next month and will be anxious to see what he has to say.   I hope that I will be able to get back to taking some walks again even if they are short ones!   A trip to Portland, Oregon, is in the works for the entire family (Hannah will be home for good by then, too) to spend Christmas with Molly, Doug and the new little baby who is due the end of November and it sounds like there should be no trouble for me to take that trip.  So nice to look forward to being all together again and fun to think of seeing Henry enjoy his second Christmas!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Swoon Quilt Block

The block that I have been seeing so many times on blogs and Pinterest, also, is the Swoon block.   There are lots of half square triangles, a center square,  four small squares, four rectangles and four flying geese.  And I almost forgot in the background at the edge I think there would be three small squares in each corner.
I think you can see the pieces in this picture and I believe I got the count right.  I did, however, see some scrappy swoon blocks that appeal to me since I do love scrappy so much.
On this block, I like the fact that it's based on pretty much one color.  This one could be made up entirely of half square triangles and little squares.  I am thinking charm squares and would just have to figure out the size of the small square after making the hst.
I love the colors in this one - what a pretty pillow.  On one blog, I saw a huge swoon block that was a quilt big enough to cover a bed.  That could be drafted out  and would be really pretty.
Another nice block, but a couple of the triangles are a bit light.  I think it might also be pretty to use different fabrics but stay constant in certain areas - for instance have all the rectangles the same, the four corner squares alike, etc.  So many different ways you could plan out the block.
This swoon block is done entirely in hst and small squares plus the large center of the star which is a picture from the fabric.  This is a pretty one, also.  Will I make a Swoon block?   I would enjoy doing one and might go for a pillow or something small.  Hard telling what this old hag will do!!  I'd like to do everything I see but that is not possible - so will just keep going as I have been and see what happens!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Different Sort of Bird

Where I live, there is a variety of wild life - not only the deer that eat our flowers, but wild turkeys are also frequent visitors.  Skunks, racoons, and foxes have also stopped by from time to time.  There is a small woods next to us and a little further down on the Dow property there is a huge wooded area so there is an abundance of critters in the area. 

Looked out my window a little while ago and there were three turkeys lounging in the yard across the street from me.  Usually they are scrounging around under the bird feeders cleaning up what the birds have dropped.  Don't know the relationship of these three creatures - whether it's mom and two kids or some other family arrangement.
They are all down resting again after doing a little moving around.  Resting in the shade on a lazy Sunday afternoon - certainly no traffic or human beings out and about to bother them.  Kind of nice living in a quiet little neighborhood!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Flock is Growing

More birdies - still have two more rows to fuse and applique.  It's going quickly and the little beaks and feet aren't as tedious as I thought they might be.  In the bottom row, I forgot to reverse my plastic template therefore two of the little fellows were heading the wrong way.  Using charm squares, I don't have a lot of fabric and  I like the two that are in that particular block - so I figured wouldn't it be just like little kids (or birds) to be heading in the wrong direction?  And who's to say which way is right or wrong.
Two more of the kids.  Promise I won't post them anymore until they are in the process of being quilted.  Hope to get the other two rows fused and appliqued tomorrow.
Another  basket almost done and ready for tinting.  The thread I am using for these is Valdani - hand-dyed variegated thread that is expensive.  Figured since I had ordered it, I should use it!  You can see how the color varies in this photo.  The green, however, is plain old DMC and I have six more leaves to embroider which won't take long.   In fact, I think I think I will go do that right now!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

An Old Round Robin

This evening is the guild spring dinner,  our last meeting until September.  We will be going to a restaurant in a small town near here for a buffet.  One of the things we are to bring for show and tell is the result  of any round robin (or similar quilt ) that we have participated in over the years.  I have done several but have not finished more than two.  This one I do like and it was done in 2007.
If I recall, we had a piece of  interfacing  marked off in segments and were to do a piece to fill  a space on that.  It was pinned on and passed on to the next one taking part.  A fun concept - sometimes the spaces left were not together and you had to be resourceful to get your part in.  Above is my start.
This pretty primitive basket was designed and hand appliqued by my friend, Leslie.  Looks so pretty in the contemporary colors.  The three remaining spaces were filled by Janna, Debbie L. and Melissa.  And I notice that the label is just pinned on!  So me!  Also the sleeve across the top has not been whipped down.  At least there is a label - some of my smaller pieces don't have one.  I do at times write my name and year on the back with a pigma pen if it will show up. 

I am taking one other wallhanging that was done as a Christmas one but didn't take it's picture.  It turned out pretty cute.

Monday, June 11, 2012

First Three Little Birds Ready

Here are Mom and two of her birdie kids all fused down waiting for applique.  Before I went grocery shopping, I stopped at the fabric store nearby and found this little black dot print.  Love it!  Gives a real sparkle to the fabrics in the birds Cutting, fusing and sewing the little beaks and legs will give these old hands a time but I'm sure it's good for them. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pretty Birds

This quilt was in one of the magazines just about three years ago and it caught my eye.  Something about it is so fetching - it is simple and very sweet.  Over the last couple of years I have thought about doing it several times.  So this afternoon that is what I did - found some charm squares I have and some white on white fabric and started cutting out birdies.  I actually reduced the size of the blocks from about 9 inches to probably around 7 inches.  Instead of doing them on individual blocks (the momma birds are on one and there are two babies on each of the remaining blocks in the rows), I will do them on a strip.

Messy, as usual.  The size will be around 28 by 35 so would make a cute wallhanging.
Still have lots of wings to decide on but was getting a bit weary.  Next time I go down, the pieces will kind of make known where they want to be.   The birdies are just lying on the fabric and will not be squeezed together like that.
Before I do any fusing, I may see if I can find some white with teeny tiny black dots - thought that might be pretty.  Will just bind it in binding made from sewing pieces together for a scrappy look.  All these little birds will have orange beaks, feet and little black eyes.  I may make the wings a bit bigger, too.  Will just have to see.

Friday, June 8, 2012

What Deer Can Do

About two weeks ago I did my planting and this is the pot on my front stoop, full of pretty little pink begonias, shamrocks, and a lovely big fancy leaf begonia.
Same pot after the deer had a midnight snack about a week to ten days ago.  I haven't replanted it yet but do have the flowers to do it and also some of that stinky stuff that is supposed to repel the critters.  Maybe I should just put some bunches of carrots in it!  Such beautiful creatures and such little scroungers.
I finished embroidering this little basket and did the tinting with the watercolour pencils.  I'm not sure about the basket but will leave it alone.  I like the flowers and will put the colonial knot centers in the three of them that need the knots.   It works good to do the embroidery first - and after they are all done, the next step will be to put some textile medium on the color to make it colorfast.  I think my next one will have a blue basket. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Another Great Grandchild on the Way!

There is another little baby on the way in our family - Henry will have a little cousin about the end of November.
Molly and Doug are the new parents-to-be and we are all so happy and excited for them.  They are such a great couple.   As of yet, they don't know if there will be a little boy or little girl moving in with them but will find out in a few weeks.  Such happy news - so exciting to see another generation coming forth.  I am thinking quilty baby things - such nice thoughts.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tinted Embroidery

For quite a while now, I have been wanting to do some tinted embroidery.  I love the look of that old fashioned method done probably in the 20's and 30's.  Sent for some Derwent Watercolour Pencils a year or more ago but have never played with them.  Today I did and I like what I see so far.
I put some parchment paper on a plastic tray, put a little water in a bowl and grabbed a paper towel.  Scribbled some of three colors on the parchment paper, then took a little paint brush, dipped it in the water and ran it back and forth over one of the scribbles.  Then carefully and after blotting the brush a little bit, I started applying the color to the embroidery which I had already stitched.  It seemed to work like a charm and I think would work either before or after doing the sewing.  I love how it is turning out and am sure that there will be ways to shade, wash, and use more than one color.  Two of the leaves I put the color on and will stitch over that.  Looks to me like it is another one of those things that you can do whichever way you are comfortable with.  The pencils are expensive, but you can get them at Dick Blick's for about $1.09 each.  I think that is where I got my set of 24.  I ordered about 14 more - I think I can treat myself!  Now if I just work on this!  As I get older, I am like a flea hopping from one thing to another!  I have four of the darling little baskets drawn out for embroidery and painting and would like to make a wallhanging with fabrics that blend with the colors.  Kind of thinking Civil War - but batiks may be the winner here.